Starbuck’s Charges Big Bucks for Intellectual Property
We Americans are so spoiled, complaining about paying $2 for 20 ounces of Starbucks coffee, reminiscing about the good old days when coffee was a dime a cup, and if you were on the honor system at the Millsaps College grill, and times were hard, then you could just thump the cup and no one would know the dif. Yeah, those were the gold old days, but the coffee tasted like re-fried Shinola.
Know what twenty ounces of the black stuff will cost you in Bangkok? About $4.50 USD, and that doesn’t count a tip for the barista, if she (or he) is cute. There are typically six of them to choose from. Those are European prices, in a country where minimum wage is $10 USD per day. At the new Terminal 21 mall on Sukhumvit, there is a waiting line. Somebody’s making a killing, but it’s not high-tech, so we don’t know his name.
A month or two ago, they came down heavy on a local coffee vendor selling his ‘Starbung’ coffee with a logo that looked suspiciously similar to the green lady: lawyers, court hearings, the whole schmear. Now we know why I guess. Coffee is black gold, and so is the ‘coffee experience’ in a country just moving cautiously beyond Nescafe (once in Guatemala I saw that translated as ‘Nescoffee’).
Starbung’s finally caved, changing his name and logo. Since they’re the corporate heavy, I won’t buy Starbucks if I have a choice, and definitely not at Thailand’s prices, but it sure looks good in some Godforsaken airport with nothing else—or in Europe, where it’s the budget option. I doubt Starbung’s is very good, anyway. I will try his roti, though. He’s closed for the holidays. I’ll be back.